Four dead as heavy rains batter Italy and Switzerland
Man (70) and girl (16) killed house in Cerro di Laveno collapsed in landslide last night
Police and fire brigade members take part in search operations for a missing person after torrential rain in Serra Ricco near Genoa in Italy today. A wave of storms and torrential rain killed four people overnight near the Italian-Swiss border. Photograph: Luca Zennaro/EPA.
Flooding after heavy rainfall in Milan, Italy today. A wave of storms and torrential rain killed four people overnight near the Italian-Swiss border. Photograph: Daniel dal Zennaro/EPA.
Four people died when mudslides hit their homes in the border area between Italy and Switzerland overnight, and a fifth was missing near the Italian city of Genoa after days of torrential rain and flooding.
Severe storms over the past few weeks have again exposed the fragile state of infrastructure in many parts of Italy, where poor planning and widespread illegal building greatly increase the threat posed by flooding.
Heavy rains for much of the past month have caused difficulties in many areas of Italy, flooding city streets and causing hundreds of millions of euro in damage, three years after seven people were killed in severe floods in 2011.
Authorities said a 70-year old man and a 16-year-old girl died when their house in Cerro di Laveno, near the border with Switzerland collapsed in a landslide late last night.
Swiss authorities reported two women died when a mudslide hit a building in Davesco-Soragno, on the Swiss side of the border. A third person, a 44-year-old Italian, was rescued from the building rubble and taken to hospital. Checks for further missing persons are continuing, police said.
Landslides cut motorways in the region, with several rivers bursting their banks, sending tides of muddy waters through the streets of Genoa and nearby towns.
Prior to this weekend’s incidents, at least four deaths have been reported in Liguria since last month due to flooding.
The weather had improved this morning but Italy’s Civil Protection Authority has sent emergency teams equipped with water pumps and earthmoving equipment to Genoa.
Local farmers’ groups in Liguria said flooding and mudslides left farmland too waterlogged to use and destroyed large numbers of greenhouses and storage depots used for the production of flowers and aromatic herbs, a significant local industry.